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Disputing Trump claims, Japan says no evidence Iran was behind Saudi attack

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“We are not aware of any information that points to Iran,” said Japanese defense minister Taro Kono.

Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono told reporters Wednesday that he has not seen any intelligence indicating Iran was behind the attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities over the weekend, contradicting Saudi and Trump administration claims about the incident.

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“We are not aware of any information that points to Iran,” Kono said during a press briefing. “We believe the Houthis carried out the attack based on the statement claiming responsibility.”

The only evidence the Trump administration has released to substantiate its claim of Iranian responsibility are satellite photos that experts said are not clear enough to assign blame. Ret. Gen. Mark Hertling, a CNN intelligence analyst, said the images “really don’t show anything, other than pretty good accuracy on the strike of the oil tanks.”

Kono said Japan, an ally of both Iran and the U.S., is still in the process of determining who was behind the attacks, which were allegedly carried out by drones.

“Given Japan’s strong ties with the U.S. based on the U.S.-Japan Alliance, and the relationship of trust that Japan has with various countries located in the Middle East, Japan is in a position to fulfill a mediating role,” said Kono.

The defense minister’s statement is the second time this year Japan has contradicted the Trump administration’s attempt to pin an attack on Iran with insufficient evidence. In June, as Common Dreams reported, the Trump administration blamed Iran for an explosion that damaged a Japanese oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman. Yutaka Katada, president of the Japanese company that owns the tanker, publicly disputed the White House’s account of the attack.

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Japan is not the only major nation to express skepticism about the Trump administration’s rush to blame Iran for the attacks, which briefly paralyzed Saudi oil production and sent crude prices soaring.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Tuesday that he is not aware of evidence demonstrating Iranian involvement, despite claims by U.S. and Saudi officials.

“Up to now France doesn’t have proof permitting it to say that these drones came from such and such a place, and I don’t know if anyone has proof,” said Le Drian. “We need a strategy of de-escalation for the area, and any move that goes against this de-escalation would be a bad move for the situation in the region.”

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Republicans are ‘spooked’ Trump will destroy GOP turnout with ‘intentional voter suppression’: conservative

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Writing in the Washington Post this Thursday, columnist Jennifer Rubin starts out by pointing out that President Trump recently admitted to "intentional voter suppression," citing a recent Post report on Trump's words.

"There is no nuance, no joke," Rubin writes, referring to Trump's words. "Republicans are firmly opposing free and fair elections — unless they do something about this."

Up until now, Trump and Republicans have been successful in implementing measures that deter voting, but they've usually disguised their efforts as fraud prevention.

"The irony, of course, is that Republicans are now spooked about absentee ballots and thereby risk losing out when their own voters cannot get to the polls (or face long lines) on Election Day," Rubin writes. "That is why many state and local Republican groups are pulling their hair out in response to Trump’s anti-absentee vote rhetoric."

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Gov. Greg Abbott says Texas is investigating its high proportion of coronavirus tests coming back positive

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The governor also said that testing is down statewide possibly because of the closure of some temporary testing sites created in July that targeted various coronavirus hotspots.

In response to Texas’ recently plummeting coronavirus testing numbers and heightened rate of people testing positive, Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday that state health officials were “investigating” the trend and working to increase the number of Texans being tested for coronavirus.

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‘Michael Cohen is releasing the Kraken’: Memoir expected to be ‘October surprise’ for Trump campaign

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President Donald Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen will publish his tell-all book about his experience working as the "fixer" to the self-described billionaire over decades and what it was like to be thrown under the bus. Slated to be out before Election Day, Cohen's stories are likely to be shocking revelations about the president as absentee ballots are dropping in mailboxes.

It was a piece of news that spread so quickly that it crashed Cohen's website for the book and sent many turning to Twitter for the foreward that he's already posted online.

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